SAT Resources

Overview of SAT Evidence Based Reading and Writing: Reading Test

Overview of SAT Evidence Based Reading and Writing: Reading Test

The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) is a paper-pencil test used for admissions into US colleges for undergraduate courses/freshman entry. The test is used to assess a student’s readiness for college. The duration of the test is 3 hours and 50 mins.

The official site for the SAT is

The SAT is divided into five sections:

  1. Evidence based Reading Test
  2. Evidence based Writing and Language Test
  3. Math (no calculator)
  4. Math (with calculator)
  5. Essay (optional)

All the sections are given is the same order as mentioned above. The Evidence Based Reading and Writing test score ranges from 200-800 and the Math score also ranges from 200-800. Total score ranges from 400-1600. Essay section is optional and its scores are graded separately.

The Evidence Based Writing test is the first section of the SAT. There will be a total of 52 questions which must be answered in 65 minutes. The passages will be composed of about 600-900 words. All the questions are based on passages, there are no standalone questions. You can expect about 5 passages in the Reading Test and each passage will be accompanied by about 10-11 questions.

All questions are multiple choice questions wherein you will be given 4 answer choices to choose from. There will be one right answer for each question. Some passages will be accompanied by a graph or a chart, and for such passages you will have certain questions whose answers will be based on the analysis of the graph or the chart. There will also be some dual-passage questions. You do not need to have prior knowledge on any of the topics of the passages. The information provided in the passages are enough for you to answer questions.

The passages will follow the below mentioned pattern:

One passage from a classic or contemporary work of U.S. or World Literature; one passage or a pair of passages from either a U.S. founding document or a text in the great global conversation they inspired; a selection from Economics, Psychology, Sociology or some other Social Science; two Science passages (or one passage and one pair) that examine foundational and developments in Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, or Physics.

The Evidence Based Reading Test section tests your analytical reasoning skills. When you come across a reading test passage, you must be able to determine the purpose, central idea, structure, functional elements and tone of the passages.

The four types of question that you will across on the Reading test are:

  1. Global Questions
  2. Detail Questions
  3. Inference Questions
  4. Rhetorical Effect Questions

A typical Reading Test question will look like this:

Q. In the context of the passage, the author’s use of the phrase “her light step flying to keep time with his long stride” (line 3) is primarily meant to convey the idea that

A. Ethan and Mattie share a powerful enthusiasm.

B. Mattie strives to match the speed at which Ethan works.

C. Mattie and Ethan playfully compete with each other.

D. Ethan walks at a pace that frustrates Mattie.

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